(I give my thanks to my sister for inviting me to contribute to her blog. I hope my reviews will give value to future discussion as well as comply with her standards.)
In this review, I refer to the Barnes & Noble Classics’ edition of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This edition includes an introduction with notes by Carol Howard. The Barnes & Noble Classics brand does an excellent job in sponsoring critics to summarize and criticize the work at hand. Howard gives background information for readers that want to understand the general significance of Austen’s most popular novel. Knowing this background makes the reading experience more enriching. I first read this book as part of the curriculum of a high school English class by a Tongan-born teacher. The process was understandably tedious because of the mentality of students, but he made it as enjoyable as possible. This time around, I got through it with considerable ease and understood a lot more than I did the previous time.
Pride and Prejudice is considered the quintessential romantic comedy, if not the best or first. The story follows the Bennet family as the members navigate the early nineteenth century customs of courtship and marriage within different classes of society. Specifically, the book shows Elizabeth Bennet reason through obstacles of manners, boundaries, and love of her admirer, Mr. Darcy. The development of these two characters involves a sort of drawn out chiasmus, a crossing in which Elizabeth and Darcy exchange opposing positions of romantic power. I see how, in the beginning, Elizabeth has the upper hand in regards to the impressions Mr. Darcy makes to others at social events and personal interactions with friends and acquaintances. Although not completely aware of all the circumstances, Elizabeth has the power to influence Mr. Darcy’s destiny by questioning his acerbic demeanor and refusing his proposal in marriage. The proposal and the rebuttal letter Mr. Darcy gives to Elizabeth act like the crossing of the chiasmus and the characters switch places. Mr. Darcy then takes the upper hand from Elizabeth and sets in motion events that contradict and overwhelm Elizabeth’s prejudice against Mr. Darcy. They then reconcile, fall in love, and marry despite objections from members of the gentry.
This novel is suitable for teenagers and adults, although a precocious child may find some entertainment in it. An adequate dictionary may be necessary to comprehend some vocabulary’s nuances. The flow of reading may be interrupted from time to time because of numerous and complex clauses that frequently appear in the middle of sentences. Some readers may become annoyed at the toady and effusive Mr. Collins. Points of discussion for parents and teenage children can include the role of social conventions, the consequences of elopement, the moral dangers of cohabitation, and premarital sex.